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What do you do when you have a lot of DIY projects you want to try but have young kids around who might get in the way? Involve them!


Projects to do with Kids

My four kids were born in the span of five years. That’s a lot of extra little hands! I’ve learned I can wait for that small window of time when they’re all asleep or distracted to get my projects done or I can figure out ways to involve them in the process.

I’ve tried both and the latter is easier and usually involves less tears. It’s been a great patience-builder for myself and my kids enjoy being involved in what I’m doing.

Here are their favorite projects:

Lip Balm

In our house, we make a soothing herbal lip balm that feels great on dry, cracked lips. The kids love pouring in the herbs and wax (as well as applying it liberally to their lips). Before we created that recipe, we started with a simple lip balm. If you’d like to try out a quick, easy lip balm with the kids, here’s a great recipe to try:


Melt the coconut oil in a sauce pan on medium heat. Add the wax and let it melt. Remove from heat and add the peppermint essential oil. Pour into containers and label.

Planting Seeds

My kids love dirt and jump at the chance to play in it. Planting seeds for the garden is the perfect opportunity to let them do something they love and involve them in an important project for the family.

We’ve done this a lot over the past few years and now, the simplest way for us to go about this project is to give the kids as much freedom as possible. They each get their own cup to scoop soil, an egg carton or cartons to plant in and pick of their seeds from the seed bag. It’s fun to see how they choose to plant their crops.

Just don’t forget to label what got planted so when lettuce and sunflowers start sprouting in your toddler’s container, you won’t be surprised.

Laundry Detergent

Scooping, grating and mixing makes for great fun for little kids. When it’s time to make laundry detergent in our home, the food processor and I are surrounded by four little ones asking for a chance to help.

The bigger kids get to measure out the borax and run the food processor, while the littlest ones get to pour in pre-scooped washing soda and grated soap. They get to choose which essential oils will go in and I pour them (because even my oldest has a tendency to want to pour in the whole bottle – they just smell so good!).

I don’t know if it’s because they played a part in making the laundry detergent, but asking them to help start the washing machine gets an immediate yes.

Yogurt

We homeschool our kids and one of my favorite ways to teach science is by heading to the kitchen. I especially like fermenting foods because we can discuss science and health benefits and practice patience.

Making yogurt is a really simple project  - all you need is milk, a yogurt starter and some basic kitchen tools. There are lots of great yogurt recipes here to get you started. (Buy yogurt starters here.)

Gelatin Snacks

The first time we made homemade gelatin snacks, my kids were so excited. They had helped pour in the boxed stuff before we became a diyNatural family, but now we were taking it to a whole new level.

They loved choosing the juice flavor, pouring everything together and blending it all up in our blender, which made a beautiful layered look when we poured into the dish to cool. If you’re new to making gelatin or want to make it extra special, I highly suggest trying these gelatin desserts.

Bread

One of the first projects I tried with the kids was bread. Frankly, I wanted to make it by myself, but my oldest insisted on helping out. I was surprised at how much fun he had with just a little mixing and kneading.

Making dough is pretty exciting for little kids. Not only do you get to measure and pour, but you get to get your hands in it! And they love the finished product, especially if it’s slathered in butter. (Making pizza  is another great project for kids).

Kids love to help and feel like they’re valued members of the family. There are so many projects they can be involved with, even if they are still little. It just takes a little extra planning … and a lot of patience.

Do your kids have any favorite DIY projects? Share them below!

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photo by TedLee

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Comments

  1. Laura Tousignant says

    As a single homeschooling mom of 3, who does in-hpme daycare to provide fpr them. The only way to get my diy projects done i love to do os with extra helping hands! Great post, thank you! :-)

  2. Chris says

    Please check into the safety of Borax before using it (making laundry detergent, above) with the children. According to the Environmental Working Group, Borax is a potential endocrine (hormone) disruptor. I used to use this to clean just about everything, thinking it was an environmentally friendly alternative, but when I recently found out it was not as safe as I thought, I stopped using it. Also – it’s an eye irritant, so using it in a food processor probably kicks up a lot of dust – easy to inhale or get in the eyes – not good!

    • says

      Chris, we understand the point you raise, but rather than assuming the EWG rating is accurate we encourage you to study it out yourself (from the raw sources) so you can draw your own safety conclusion. We have studied the topic extensively and have deemed it as safe; so we continue to include it in our recipes. PS… we will be writing an article on this soon, but thanks again for bringing it up as I’m sure others had the same thought as you. Blessings.

  3. LisaC says

    Is there any substitute for the beeswax for lip balm?
    Allergies abound in our home.

  4. JAMES R. says

    Mademoiselle:
    You & your hubby are such a blessing to our house.
    Granted we’re empty nesters, but still, you & hubby have saved us lots of money by sharing your recipes, your thoughts & ideas on so many subjects.

    ‘Thank You’ just is not enough to show my appreciation.

    *May you live long enough to be buried in the coffin, which is made from the 100 year old Oak Tree, That I shall plant tomorrow.*

  5. says

    These are fantastic ideas! Not only does it keep their little hands busy with something positive and useful, but they are learning to make these things and be more self-sufficient down the road!
    Amazing:)

  6. says

    great post! I only have 2 kids so far but my 3 year old is very active in helping in the kitchen and the garden.( I just wrote a post recently on how to garden with your kids)

    love your site! I will totally be following from now on.